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The Man In The White Van - What We Know So Far

Serial killers have remained captivating in both fiction and nonfiction for decades, but in more recent years the focus has shifted away from focusing on the murderers themselves and instead told the stories from the perspective of the victims. And one film that will aim to continue that tradition is "The Man in the White Van."

The company behind the film, Legion M, first announced it back in March 2021 during a live-streaming event on YouTube. The "White Van" trope is so ubiquitous in pop culture that anyone who owns a panel van without windows is automatically suspect. But there's a reason why that trope exists. It all dates back to one person, serial killer/rapist Billy Mansfield Jr., who terrorized a small Florida town in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

"The Man in the White Van" tells the story of Mansfield's crimes, as they were experienced by the people who he victimized. Here's everything we know so far about the film.

What is the release date for The Man in the White Van?

"The Man in the White Van" doesn't yet have an official premiere date. It also either doesn't yet have a distributor or its distributor hasn't been announced, which makes it difficult to pinpoint when it might premiere — usually, knowing the distributor's release calendar gives a pretty good indication of when a particular movie might drop.

At this point, all we know is that "The Man in the White Van" is scheduled to begin filming by the end of Sept. 2021 (via Deadline). Beecaue production usually takes two to six months, that means the earliest it could wrap is by the end of this year. With movies taking another six months for post-production on average, that would put the earliest possible premiere date around June 2022 (via Cinemaholic). Any time between then and the end of 2022 is a realistic window for when it might hit theaters. It's possible "The Man in the White Van" will drop around Halloween, because that's the time of year when the movie takes place (see below).

Who is in the cast of The Man in the White Van?

As reported by Deadline, most of the principal cast has been set. Madison Wolfe ("The Conjuring 2") will be playing the lead role, Annie, while Brec Bassinger ("Stargirl") will be playing Annie's sister Margaret, and Gavin Warren ("12 Mighty Orphans") will be playing their younger brother Daniel.

The rest of the cast includes Sean Astin ("Stranger Things," "The Lord of the Rings"), Ali Larter ("The Rookie"), Skai Jackson ("Bunk'd"), and Julianne Arrieta ("Reagan"), although their roles haven't yet been specified.

"The Man in the White Van" was co-written and will be directed by Warren Skeels ("Siesta Key"), who wrote the script along with Sharon Y. Cobb. Skeels will also be executive producing. Gary Kompothecras and Lawrence Najem are also executive producing. The film's producers include Terri Lubaroff and Anne Marie Gillen, and its co-producers are Mike Page and Arlie Day.

What is the plot of The Man in the White Van?

"The Man in the White Van" is based on a true story about the first victim of Florida-based serial killer Billy Mansfield Jr., who preyed on women and girls from 1975 to 1980. The story follows Annie, a fourteen-year-old girl from Brooksville, FL, who has a tendency to exaggerate. The movie begins when Annie notices a white van stalking her through her neighborhood. When her parents don't believe her, things turn deadly right around Halloween. 

As noted by Deadline, the film "will explore the origins of the 'white van' trope in popular culture, and chart the beginnings of the destruction fomented by real-world serial killer Billy Mansfield Jr." 

The story appears to be inspired by real events more so than directly based on them. Annie seems to be a fictionalized version of Mansfield's first victim, Elaine Zeigler, who disappeared while camping with her parents near Brooksville just before New Year's Eve 1975 (via Murderpedia).